2 min read

How to Remain Detached from Followers

How to Remain Detached from Followers
Think of your content as being on train, making different stops to various networks along the way. Photo by Josh Nezon / Unsplash

Social networks continue to play up the importance of followers in addition to other vanity metrics such as views and likes in an effort to keep you engaged in a game that you can never win. This is one source of struggle for people creating art and sharing new ideas online.

The other side of this coin is the worry about how you will be perceived by certain people, or if various friends will even like what you post. This form of worry keeps you feeling and acting small as you are motivated by maintaining status quo rather than blazing new trails.

There are two things that can help with this.

  1. Create content for a "loving network" as its first stop on the train ride. A place like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can feel clausterphobic so this doesn't have to be the first place where a piece of content is posted.

    Instead you can create a video for YouTube which has you prioritize the topic over anything else. Even Spotify is friendly in this way, the song just goes up and is kind of put into the ether. Even though you are uploading content into a massive swarm, I would still categorize this as a loving place if you are triggered by how your close network receives your work.  

    After the piece has been developed for a sane environment, you can then create bits that you would put on a place like Instagram. Post it and then don't dwell on it afterwards (Post and Ghost).
  2. When it comes to a place like Instagram, resist the need to please people who don't align with your work in any way. This is the problem with that network, is friends from various parts of your life will follow you, and then you feel like you're speaking to them. Instead, adopt the strategy of creating for the wider network on Instagram that is aligned with what you do, usually in the form of hashtags. Your Discover tab should highlight this community for you.

    And here's the kicker: just know that if someone doesn't like your work, they can and should unfollow you. That's how these networks work. They might just mute you to be civil, but use this ability to your advantage. You should encourage people who don't align with your work to not follow it. And besides, the algorithm might do this filtering for them as they have completely different interests in their activity.

In summary, create work that is taking you to where you want to be going and develop it in a place where you can think clearly, not distracted by followers and likes. Then place artifacts from this work on other networks that might appeal your inherit interest to be famous (Instagram), and be willing to let people go.